JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A week after Hurricane Irma left its mark on the First Coast, fewer than 1,000 electrical customers in Duval County remain powerless this weekend.
Power crews across the state are making progress but utilities admit they have a long way to go to get all of the millions of customers in Florida and Georgia who lost power during Hurricane Irma back on.
Statewide, more than 600,000 people are waiting for their power to be restored.
In our area, Duval County has the lowest percentage of customers without power. Less than one percent of JEA's customers in the county still do not have power as of noon Sunday. That number is compared to over 60 percent that were without power during the height of the storm.
"The biggest challenge, I would have to say, was the historic nature of this storm, the damage that it caused to our community both in terms of tree canopy and flooding and the impact on our citizens," said JEA CEO Paul McElroy.
McElroy said on Friday the utility company needs to see where it stands before giving any time estimates, but the company has reached the point that as customers call, JEA can tell them when crews will be in their areas to work on fixing the problems.
He said JEA is striving for a pace that is “equal to or better” than the recovery across storm-ravaged Florida.
“Right now, we’re progressing better than the rest of the state in terms of our restoration,” McElroy said. “We think that’s good for our community, but I know it’s frustrating for those who are still without power.”
Meanwhile, Clay Electric announced on Friday that it expected to have nearly all of its customers back online by the end of the weekend. As of Sunday afternoon, the co-op said 5,638 members remained without power. A total of about 145,000 customers have been restored since Monday afternoon.
In St. Johns County, around 5,600 Florida Power & Light customers remain powerless as of Sunday afternoon. Countywide, four percent of electrical customers do not have power.
It's estimated that all FPL customers in St. Johns County will be restored by Tuesday, Sept. 19. Estimated restoration times for St. Johns County increased on Friday evening due to significant damage that the company had not anticipated, according to FPL spokesperson Chris McGrath.
On the First Coast, Putnam County continues to suffer the most from power outages. Approximately 11 percent of electrical customers are currently without power. Heavy flooding along the St. Johns River in places like Palatka and Welaka are partially to blame as crews cannot begin to restore power until flood waters subside. FPL estimates that all Putnam County customers will be restored by Tuesday.
In Georgia, the vast majority of customers have had their power restored. Less than 40 customers in Glynn and Camden counties are still without power Sunday morning, a significant decrease from the numbers seen on Friday.
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